LeVar Burton hemorrhages Twitter followers over Philip Seymour Hoffman jokes

Swimming upstream on social media proves all but impossible.

 

Miles Klee

Internet Culture

Published Feb 4, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 7:21 pm CDT

If you’re a beloved celebrity with some two million followers on Twitter, you can probably leave the tacky jokes to its formidable army of assorted trolls. But since Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton hasn’t hired me as a social media intern, he waded into the discussion of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely death and said some things that would inevitably call for a retraction.

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Damn, #PSH was SO talented! However, if Y’all should find me dead with a needle in my arm, in my underwear… please put my pants on!

— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) February 2, 2014

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After that comment earned him the wrath of the mourning mob, with followers deserting in droves, Burton got defensive.

Not cool is shooting up when you got kids… #areyoukiddingme RT @readmuchrunfar: Not cool, dude.

— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) February 2, 2014

I know about addiction! RT @damia_one: @levarburton perhaps you should educate yourself about addition before passing judgement.

— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) February 2, 2014

No matter how you slice it, PSH wasted a great gift! Lash out at me if you want to… I ain’t goin’ out like that!

— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) February 3, 2014

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Lots!!! RT @criticsopinion: How many unfollowers so far @levarburton ?

— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) February 3, 2014

Can we get back to the game now, please???

— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) February 3, 2014

Eventually, he did apologize, if only to move on with his life.

I apologize for being insensitive regarding the death of PSH. No excuses, it was wrong! May he rest in Peace!

— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) February 3, 2014

More than one actor dared to stray from the pre-approved consensus about Hoffman dying from an apparent heroin overdose. Supernatural star Jared Padalecki tweeted that “‘Sad’ isn’t the word I’d use to describe a 46-year-old man throwing his life away to drugs. ‘Senseless’ is more like it. ‘Stupid.’” He deleted that comment but otherwise stood his ground:

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I didnt mean PSH is stupid or that addiction isnt a reality. I simply meant I have a different definition of “tragedy”.

— Jared Padalecki (@jarpad) February 2, 2014

When I think “tragedy”, I think of St Judes, of genocide, of articles I read in the paper. But, yes, either way, a death, is sad.

— Jared Padalecki (@jarpad) February 2, 2014

I don’t know, Jared—pretty sure there was something in the paper about Hoffman, too. We call those “obituaries.”

H/T Atlanta Daily World | Photo startrek.com

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*First Published: Feb 4, 2014, 6:45 pm CST